Foreigners flood Japan facilities for info on virus

25-Feb-2020 Intellasia | JapanNews | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The central and local governments in Japan as well as organisations promoting international exchanges have been receiving many inquiries from foreigners about the new coronavirus that is spreading nationwide.

The Japan National Tourism Organisation has established a call centre that can respond 24 hours a day to inquiries from foreign travellers in English, Chinese and Korean.

The centre initially received several calls per day but the daily total surged to 40 to 60 after coronavirus infection cases started increasing in Japan.

In one case, a man from China’s Hubei Province, the epicenter of the coronavirus crisis in China, told a call centre operator that his 9-year-old child had a fever.

Many non-Japanese callers asked about hospitals with multilingual staff.

“Although we have increased the number of operators, there are times when all of our call centre lines are busy,” a JNTO official said.

The Osaka International House Foundation offers consultation services in five languages to help foreigners living in Japan. It had received 65 inquiries about the coronavirus by Thursday.

The foundation utilises a three-way call system to translate conversations between non-Japanese residents and public health centre workers.

An increasing number of municipalities are providing information in simple Japanese to facilitate the understanding by foreigners, due to limits in offering multilingual consultation services.

On its website, the Justice Ministry posts the health ministry’s information about the coronavirus and a related questions-and-answers section in simple Japanese.


Category: Japan

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